6A State Championship keys to the game


The Pumas will try to avenge last years 49-42 defeat in the state championship game as they take on the Chandler Wolves Saturday at Arizona State University. In order to raise a banner in the gym, the Pumas will have to stop the ground game of the Wolves.

Decarlos Brooks, the Wolves senior running back, has compiled 1893 yards on the ground and making it into the endzone 28 times. In Chandlers 45-34 win over Perry earlier in the year, Brooks carried the ball 43 times for 246 yards and had 2 total touchdowns

The Pumas front 7 led by senior linebacker Braxton Smith and senior defensive lineman Travis Beckman. Smith has assembled 94 total tackles throughout the season while Beckman has acquired 40 total tackles and 6 sacks from his defensive end position. Senior safety Travis Calloway will also play a key role in providing run support from his free safety position. Compiling 128 total tackles throughout the season, Calloway will likely be one of the last lines of defense on a Decarlos Brooks rush.

When a team begins to key in on Brooks, that is when quarterback Jacob Conover begins to take over. Keeping Brooks in check while also limiting Conover will be crucial for the Puma defense. Conover threw for 3109 yards through the air with the ball getting in the endzone 37 times. He also ran for 236 and a touchdown on the season.

Establishing the running game will be critical for the Pumas. Senior running back Jalen Young has rushed for 1253 yards and 11 total touchdowns. Establishing the rushing attack with Young and junior quarterback Chubba Purdy will open up opportunities in the passing game. Getting playmakers like Young and receiver Colby Dickie in the open field will also play a role in the outcome of the game Saturday night.



Chandler High School will take a shot at winning their third state championship in the last four years. However if Chandler wants to hoist that trophy they will have to slow down the two-headed backfield of Jalen Young and Peyton Hill.

Young, a senior, is averaging 96.4 yards a game. He has run for 1253 yards on the ground this year while punching it into the endzone 9 times. The Pumas as a team are averaging 281 rushing yards a game from these two backs to junior quarterback Chubba Purdy. The Wolves will need to contain the athleticism of Purdy and Young while also limiting the impact of receiver Colby Dickie and tight end Kyle Patterson.

In the Pumas loss to the Wolves earlier in the year Dickie and Patterson were held to just 76 yards and a touchdown combined. Patterson has accumulated 334 yards and three touchdowns on the season while Dickie has racked up 1034 yards and 16 touchdowns throughout the season.  

Establishing the running game with the Wolves senior running back will also be critical for Chandler. 4 to 5 yard gains a rush will wear down the Puma defense and by the time the fourth quarter rolls around those 4 to 5 yard rushes will turn into 14 to 15 yard runs. In the Wolves last game against Perry, Brooks carried the ball 43 times for 246 yards and 2 total touchdowns. Another key for the Wolves will be getting their playmakers and athletes out in space as much as possible, whether that’s Brooks or Quarterback Jacob Conover who is averaging 260 passing yards a game. Letting their playmakers make plays will set up the Wolves to raise the state title in back to back years.

Chandler will enter Saturday’s game with only one blemish on their record coming in their season opener against Centennial.